Posts Tagged ‘utilities’

Obama Causes Official End Of The Nation Of Makers

April 4, 2011

This is something that conservatives saw coming from the very fist days of the Obama administration.  From Cato, February 26, 2009:

Cato begins that article with a quote from Obama from a couple of days previous: “As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan by President’s Day… Not because I believe in bigger government — I don’t. Not because I’m not mindful of the massive debt we’ve inherited — I am.”

But like virtually everything else, it was a lie.  Obama’s own proposed massive increase in federal spending proved that.  And since Obama took office, he has spent as no government has ever spent in the history of the human race.

And thus is it utterly no surprise at all to anyone but ignorant fools that we are now here:

APRIL 1, 2011
We’ve Become a Nation of Takers, Not Makers
More Americans work for the government than in manufacturing, farming, fishing, forestry, mining and utilities combined.

By STEPHEN MOORE
If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?

Every state in America today except for two—Indiana and Wisconsin—has more government workers on the payroll than people manufacturing industrial goods. Consider California, which has the highest budget deficit in the history of the states. The not-so Golden State now has an incredible 2.4 million government employees—twice as many as people at work in manufacturing. New Jersey has just under two-and-a-half as many government employees as manufacturers. Florida’s ratio is more than 3 to 1. So is New York’s.

Even Michigan, at one time the auto capital of the world, and Pennsylvania, once the steel capital, have more government bureaucrats than people making things. The leaders in government hiring are Wyoming and New Mexico, which have hired more than six government workers for every manufacturing worker.

Now it is certainly true that many states have not typically been home to traditional manufacturing operations. Iowa and Nebraska are farm states, for example. But in those states, there are at least five times more government workers than farmers. West Virginia is the mining capital of the world, yet it has at least three times more government workers than miners. New York is the financial capital of the world—at least for now. That sector employs roughly 670,000 New Yorkers. That’s less than half of the state’s 1.48 million government employees.

Don’t expect a reversal of this trend anytime soon. Surveys of college graduates are finding that more and more of our top minds want to work for the government. Why? Because in recent years only government agencies have been hiring, and because the offer of near lifetime security is highly valued in these times of economic turbulence. When 23-year-olds aren’t willing to take career risks, we have a real problem on our hands. Sadly, we could end up with a generation of Americans who want to work at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The employment trends described here are explained in part by hugely beneficial productivity improvements in such traditional industries as farming, manufacturing, financial services and telecommunications. These produce far more output per worker than in the past. The typical farmer, for example, is today at least three times more productive than in 1950.

Where are the productivity gains in government? Consider a core function of state and local governments: schools. Over the period 1970-2005, school spending per pupil, adjusted for inflation, doubled, while standardized achievement test scores were flat. Over roughly that same time period, public-school employment doubled per student, according to a study by researchers at the University of Washington. That is what economists call negative productivity.

But education is an industry where we measure performance backwards: We gauge school performance not by outputs, but by inputs. If quality falls, we say we didn’t pay teachers enough or we need smaller class sizes or newer schools. If education had undergone the same productivity revolution that manufacturing has, we would have half as many educators, smaller school budgets, and higher graduation rates and test scores.

The same is true of almost all other government services. Mass transit spends more and more every year and yet a much smaller share of Americans use trains and buses today than in past decades. One way that private companies spur productivity is by firing underperforming employees and rewarding excellence. In government employment, tenure for teachers and near lifetime employment for other civil servants shields workers from this basic system of reward and punishment. It is a system that breeds mediocrity, which is what we’ve gotten.

Most reasonable steps to restrain public-sector employment costs are smothered by the unions. Study after study has shown that states and cities could shave 20% to 40% off the cost of many services—fire fighting, public transportation, garbage collection, administrative functions, even prison operations—through competitive contracting to private providers. But unions have blocked many of those efforts. Public employees maintain that they are underpaid relative to equally qualified private-sector workers, yet they are deathly afraid of competitive bidding for government services.

President Obama says we have to retool our economy to “win the future.” The only way to do that is to grow the economy that makes things, not the sector that takes things.

Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page.

California?  Unions?  Consider this from the Los Angeles Times:

California’s $500-billion pension time bomb
The staggering amount of unfunded debt stands to crowd out funding for many popular programs. Reform will take something sadly lacking in the Legislature: political courage.
April 06, 2010|By David Crane

The state of California’s real unfunded pension debt clocks in at more than $500 billion, nearly eight times greater than officially reported.

That’s the finding from a study released Monday by Stanford University’s public policy program, confirming a recent report with similar, stunning findings from Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

The People’s Republic of Kalifornia was cursed with a R.I.N.O. governor who championed abortion, a $6 porker giveway for stem cell research, gay marriage, and a whole bunch of other liberal crap.  And the legislature is one of the most overwhelmingly Democrat in the country.  And the only things that have changed is that the People’s Republic is now officially under a Democrat Governor (Jerry Brown) and they actually added a Democrat seat in the legislature.

Illinois was described by NBC as having the worst unfunded pension crisis in the country.  Maybe they didn’t know how bad California’s really was when they reported that.  But more likely, they probably had no idea how bad Illinois’ problem truly was and is, either.

The United States is so screwed it is absolutely unreal.  And that is largely due to unions and the Democrats who support those unions in exchange for votes.  It’s an unAmerican scheme that works like this: labor unions give Democrats big campaign donations and provide the muscle and infrastructure for the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote campaign.  And in exchange, Democrats give unions other peoples’ money to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.  They don’t give a damn about the 88% of Americans who AREN’T in unions.

Unions are parasites that have sucked the blood out of every industry they have ever seized their vile little talons onto.  Autos, airlines, manufacturing, education government at every possible level – you name it; they’ve ruined it.  And the rest of America is the host that the parasites feed off of.  And Democrats care about the parasites, and not one damn about the rapidly dying host.

And Barack Obama is far and away the most pro-union president ever.  And that was true BEFORE he signed three new hard-core union-agenda executive orders into law.

Obama has just gotten caught red-handed using his ObamaCare to give huge payouts to unions and corporations that advanced his agenda (fascism alert).  Remember that G.E. – one of the corporate beneficiaries of ObamaCare, not only paid zero taxes but actually got money from the taxpayers.

Do you remember Obama’s preacher for over twenty years said, “No, no, no, not God bless America.  God DAMN America.”  And then said that “America’s chickens are coming home to roost”???

You need to understand our actual situation and look at our real debt to understand that AMERICA is the chicken – and Obama has cut its head off and thrown it into a pot of boiling water:

News from globeandmail.com
The scary real U.S. government debt
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NEIL REYNOLDS

Ottawa — reynolds.globe@gmail.com

Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff says U.S. government debt is not $13.5-trillion (U.S.), which is 60 per cent of current gross domestic product, as global investors and American taxpayers think, but rather 14-fold higher: $200-trillion – 840 per cent of current GDP. “Let’s get real,” Prof. Kotlikoff says. “The U.S. is bankrupt.”

Writing in the September issue of Finance and Development, a journal of the International Monetary Fund, Prof. Kotlikoff says the IMF itself has quietly confirmed that the U.S. is in terrible fiscal trouble – far worse than the Washington-based lender of last resort has previously acknowledged. “The U.S. fiscal gap is huge,” the IMF asserted in a June report. “Closing the fiscal gap requires a permanent annual fiscal adjustment equal to about 14 per cent of U.S. GDP.”

This sum is equal to all current U.S. federal taxes combined. The consequences of the IMF’s fiscal fix, a doubling of federal taxes in perpetuity, would be appalling – and possibly worse than appalling. […]

Without drastic reform, Prof. Kotlikoff says, the only alternative would be a massive printing of money by the U.S. Treasury – and hyperinflation.

As former president Bill Clinton once prematurely said, the era of big government is over. In the coming years, the U.S. will almost certainly be compelled to deconstruct its welfare state.

Prof. Kotlikoff doesn’t trust government accounting, or government regulation. The official vocabulary (deficit, debt, transfer payment, tax, borrowing), he says, is vulnerable to official manipulation and off-the-books deceit. He calls it “Enron accounting.” He also calls it a lie.

Every single one of these massive entitlements that is poisoning America they way Japan’s tsunami has poisoned her nuclear reactors with toxic meltdowns came from the vile minds of DEMOCRATS.  And it is DEMOCRATS who will cause the once mighty America to shortly go the way of the Dodo bird.

Social Security was a ponzi scheme from the outset.  And the only thing that has kept it going was that it is a really, really BIG ponzi scheme.  We find out that FDR – who wanted a massive takeover of the private sector by the federal government – worked hard to kill an amendment offered by a Democrat (Senator Bennett Champ Clark): ” It would have allowed workers to go with the new government system or, if they wished, to have their money put into a private-insurance plan. Either way, the contributions would be mandatory.”  Had that amendment been allowed to pass, it would have forced the government’s filfthy paws off the “trust fund” that they subsequently ripped off for the next seventy years and beyond:

We wouldn’t be saddled with today’s fiscal disaster. Hundreds of billions of dollars that politicians have “borrowed” from the Social Security trust fund for all sorts of pork spending would not have disappeared. Instead, all that capital would have been invested in the economy, leaving us a lot more prosperous. Moreover, the Clark Amendment would have been a model for state pension plans, which are now bankrupting local governments, as well as for other nations.

There was a much better idea from the private sector – but in the end Democrats wouldn’t have it.  They wanted their government fascist control instead.  They didn’t care about the American people; they wanted to be able to raid those retirement funds for their own partisan ideological ends.

Then there was the much more colossal failure known as Medicare.  Ronald Reagan famously warned America about that fraud in 1961:

One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.

Medicare now represents the largest share of our unfunded liabilities today.  The private market could have done a much better job at a much lower cost, but again, Democrats wanted socialism, and they were hell bent upon getting their socialism.

Now we face collectivist bankruptcy.  We were previously told that if current trends held, Medicare would go broke by 2017.  But current trends didn’t hold, because Obama robbed Medicare of $500 billion to fund the ObamaCare boondobble that bears his name.

As the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher famously said, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”  And voilà, here we are.

When it comes to how John F. Kennedy viewed the socialist redistribution of wealth via “progressive taxation policies,” you will find that Kennedy was solidly on the side of fiscal conservatives today.  As it stands, today’s vile Democrats are fundamentally at odds with the man widely recognized to be the greatest Democrat president.

As we speak, Republicans are trying to cut a tiny fraction of the bloated, totally-out-of-control federal budget.  And Democrats are demonizing them at every turn for it.  Because Democrats have been using government spending to massively pad the coffers of the government-sector unions who make their elections possible.  And to be a Democrat means you don’t give a damn about America’s future; you only selfishly want – to put it in John F. Kennedy’s famous words – “what your country can do for you.”

God HAS damned America in the person of Jeremiah Wright’s parishoner for 23 years.  And the most ignorant generation in America’s history voted for it.

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Why ObamaCare Passage Marks A Day That Shall Live In Infamy

March 22, 2010

The pundits have rightly compared the gigantic ObamaCare bill with the Roosevelt administration – if nothing else than because we haven’t seen any government program so gigantic since then.

In a way that is very fitting.  Because we can bookend December 7, 1941 and March 21, 2010 with the same prediction: a day that shall live in infamy.

December 7th was a disaster because FDR utterly failed to see a clear and present danger building on opposite sides of both oceans.  We failed to take precautions.  We failed to arm ourselves.  We even failed to protect ourselves.  What made it so criminal was that we had years of ample warning, but simply chose to ignore it.

March 21 was hardly a surprise, either.  Just as with December 7, a lot of Americans saw it coming, but lacked the power to do anything but point and shout about the coming disaster.  The major difference is that on December 7, 1941, our government failed to protect our way of life, whereas on March 21, 2010, our government actively attacked our way of life.

And now it is here.  And now that it is here, it will grow like a cancer.  Slowly at first – it doesn’t fully kick in until 2014 – and then it will erupt like a big poisonous mushroom.

Charles Krauthammer described what the passage of ObamaCare means with his usual brilliance:

“Nonetheless, it will be the law of the land as of tonight and we’re going to be a different country.  We are on our way, there is absolutely no chance we are not going to end up with national health care.   This is nationalizing health care, the insurance companies are now utilities, they are contractors. the government makes all of these decisions, only a matter of time and will probably happen after the Obama administration.  But he will be remembered as the father of national health care as they have in Canada or Britain and it starts tonight.”

Krauthammer is in no way exaggerating or politicizing the regulatory takeover of private insurance companies by the government under ObamaCare.  That can be demonstrated merely by examine what Dennis Kucinich said about ObamaCare and about the role of private insurance companies before he went ahead and voted for it anyway:

  • “I don’t know what there is for my constituents”
  • It’s “a license to just steal money from people”
  • ObamaCare is a “giveaway to the insurance industry”
  • This bill is “not going to protect consumers from these rapid premium increases
  • It provides “no guarantees of any control over premiums”
  • It is “forcing people to buy private insurance”
  • It’s going to result in “five consecutive years of double-digit premium increases”
  • “I just don`t see that this bill is the solution”
  • “The insurance companies are the problem and we`re giving them a version of a bailout”
  • “This bill doesn`t change the fact that the insurance companies are going to keep socking it to the consumer”
  • It results in a “giveaway to the insurance industry”
  • “You`re building on sand. There`s no structure here”
  • If we pass this bill, “all we`re going to have is more poverty in this country”
  • If we pass this bill, “people aren`t going to get the care that they need”

This remaking of private insurance companies as utilities, as contractors for the government, is fascism, pure and simple.  The government didn’t nationalize them, as it would do under communism, but it created a massive new set of regulations, and bureaucracies, and mandates, and taxes that quintessentially takes them over as agents of the state.  And that is what fascism is all about:

The entry under “Fascism” in The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics reads in part:

Where socialism [i.e., communism] sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”–that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities.

And that is exactly what is happening.  Liberals may not like my term, but it couldn’t be more applicable here.  Obama demonized the insurance companies, and he will now regulate and control and dominate them “in the national interest.”

ObamaCare amounts to a regulatory takeover of the private health insurance companies.  They will be told what to do, how to do it, and how much to charge (although you might see them massively raise rates in preparation to protect themselves for the onslaught that is coming their way).  The government under Obama already owns General Motors and Chrysler.  His administration already essentially owns many banking institutions.  The government under Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac controls more than 90 percent of the nation’s secondary mortgage market.  And Paul Volcker acknowledged that “the federal government was responsible for up to 95 percent of all new home mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2009.”

Even the student loan industry was effectively nationalized under ObamaCare.

It’s naked fascism.  And that fascism which was slowly trickling onto us during the Bush years has now become an massive avalanche under Obama.

Fascism is bad, of course.  But the economic consequences of this fascist takeover of our health care system may be even worse than the political ones.

As for that, consider what Weekly Standard journalist Steve Hayes said (link includes video of the following):

I think that if you take a step back from this the real story here is is the deficit and that story.  Everybody’s familiar with the debt clock; we’ve all seen how fast it moves.  This is going to put it on double time or triple time because when you go back and you look at the history of entitlements in the country, that’s the patternThere are promises that this is going to cut deficits or debt, and it never does.  You look back at at what FDR said when he signed Social Security into law in July 1935. He said it would act as a protection for future administrations against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy. He also said this is a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide the United States and economic structure of vastly greater soundness. Social Security today?  $43 Trillion dollar unfunded liability – that’s 400 thousand dollars per household in the United States today. And you go back to 1965.  LBJ did the same thing. You saw Nancy Pelosi carrying the gavel – it’s the same argument.  He said it would be $1.50 a month for the average worker.  $1.50 a month.  Three dollars per month after you’re 65.  Today, Medicare has a $57 trillion dollar unfunded liability.  $500,000 dollars per American household.  This will bankrupt the country.”

FDR said in 1935 when he signed Social Security into law:

It is a structure intended to lessen the force of possible future depressions. It will act as a protection to future Administrations against the necessity of going deeply into debt to furnish relief to the needy. The law will flatten out the peaks and valleys of deflation and of inflation. It is, in short, a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide for the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness.

$43 TRILLION dollars of unfunded liability.  That is $400,000 for every household in the country.  That is $184,000 for every single man, woman, and child in the country.  Please pay up now.

Does that sound like something that lessened the force of possible future ANYTHING? A protection to future administrations against the necessity of going deeply in debt???  Something that provides the United States with an economic structure of vastly greater soundness???  We’re doomed.

Maybe you don’t care that this giant boondoggle is going to crash and burn your country, and that your children or grandchildren will literally die as a result of your greed and selfishness.  But I do.

They promised us a bogus Utopia, and that Utopia is about to collapse into the fiery pit of hell.

What was it that Lyndon Johnson promised us when he sold his load of Medicare malarkey?

Now here is how the plan will affect you.

During your working years, the people of America–you–will contribute through the social security program a small amount each payday for hospital insurance protection. For example, the average worker in 1966 will contribute about $1.50 per month. The employer will contribute a similar amount. And this will provide the funds to pay up to 90 days of hospital care for each illness, plus diagnostic care, and up to 100 home health visits after you are 65. And beginning in 1967, you will also be covered for up to 100 days of care in a skilled nursing home after a period of hospital care.

And under a separate plan, when you are 65–that the Congress originated itself, in its own good judgment–you may be covered for medical and surgical fees whether you are in or out of the hospital. You will pay $3 per month after you are 65 and your Government will contribute an equal amount.

Let me tell you how Medicare affects me: It affects me with a $57 trillion unfunded liability.  It affects me with a bill of $500,000 for every single household in America.  It affects me with an individual bill (that every single man, woman, and child in this country owes) of $230,000.

The forerunner of the CBO underestimated the actual cost of Medicare by a whopping factor of 10.  If they repeat their little boo-boo, ObamaCare will cost $10 trillion dollars over ten years, and the United States will completely collapse as an independent nation-state.

And that’s $230,ooo on top of the $184,000 I owe for Medicare.  I owe $414,000.  And my household owns $900,000.  And great googly moogly, we don’t got it.  We’re on a speeding train that is going to keep hurtling along until it flies off a cliff and crashes.

Hey, I got an idea: let’s double that.  Hell, let’s triple it.

If you believe that the government is going to create a trillion dollar entitlement that ensures 47 million more people – (John Larson, chairman of the Democratic caucus, used the “47 million” figure on ABCs “This Week” just yesterday; he used it again on CNNs “State of the Union”) and spends less money than is spent now, you are an abject fool.

And that “47 million” clearly includes 17 million illegal immigrants.  The Democrats’ incredibly cynical plan is to take health resources from you and from your children and grandchildren and give those resources to illegal immigrants so they can capture the Hispanic vote.

The metaphor is a dozen people rushing into your house to eat your food and consume your resources while your own kids go hungry.  No one would do this.  But your government is doing it under Democrat Party tyranny.

The real cost of this bill is over $6 TRILLIONThe Democrats filled their legislation with gimmicks, such as assuming they would cut doctors’ Medicare reimbursements by 21% when they know they won’t, then putting that “Doctor fix” in another bill.  That will add $208 billion to the real cost of their plan.  Then they falsely start the bill’s ten-year score in 2010, when the benefits don’t start getting paid out until 2014.  That accounting deceit masks the fact that the REAL cost of the bill is $2.3 trillion.

The $6 trillion (PLUS!!!) figure comes from the biggest and most despicable shenanigan of all: all the money from American citizens who will be unconstitutionally forced to purchase health insurance isn’t counted in the CBO score.  At all.  Not one penny.

In other words, your ObamaCare – which really isn’t even deficit neutral at all – was sold as “deficit neutral” because it doesn’t count the trillions and trillions of dollars that American citizens will be compelled by their government to pay for health insurance.

ObamaCare amounted to the slitting of the national wrists.  And we’re going to start bleeding out until we either abandon it or die.

The Republicans have a few more tactics to fight this bill, but they amount to starting backfires to try to temporarily contain a massive hungry forest fire.  It won’t be enough, and it probably won’t ultimately succeed.

Thirty-eight states and counting are now working to preempt the ObamaCare disaster by protecting their citizens from this disgraceful and unconstitutional boondoggle.

Having this monster 2,700-page government takeover of health care may be the only chance this nation has of avoiding a very-near term financial implosion.

If this bill isn’t stopped, one day Americans will look back at the late great former United States of America and realize that that was the anvil that broke the camel’s back.